All aboard! 'Midnight Train to Georgia' celebrates 40 years

Gladys Knight
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Admit it, it’s the “woo woo” that gets you every time.

“Midnight Train to Georgia,” Gladys Knight’s paean to devotion (“I’d rather live in his world than live without him in mine”), has won Grammys – well, one in 1974 – and is undoubtedly the Georgia native’s signature song.

It’s such a timeless singalong, even the good folks on “Modern Family” found a way to incorporate it into a heartwarming storyline in last week’s episode.

Sunday, Oct. 27, marks 40 years since Knight and her Pips hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, replacing “Angie” by the Rolling Stones.

But would it have been as successful if it has retained its original title, “Midnight Plane to Houston”? Songwriter Jim Weatherly penned the track as a country tune, but when an Atlanta producer wanted Cissy Houston to record the song, he asked Weatherly if he could change the mode of transportation and the city.

Weatherly reportedly responded, “I said, I don't mind. Just don't change the rest of the song.”

Houston hit the R&B charts in 1969 with her version of “Midnight Train to Georgia,” but just mention the song to anyone and you’ll likely get a Pips-ian “woo woo” in response. 

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